Troy Harris: Harris is a small business owner. Courtesy photo

All candidates were given an opportunity to provide written answers to a set of questions provided by SMDP and two sets of answers will be printed each day. Answers are also available online alongside additional information from each candidate. To hear interviews with the candidates, visit www.smdp.com/pod.

What is your justification for using government authority to require private property owners to subsidize inflation, fees, utilities and other costs for rent controlled tenants?

My justification for using government authority to require landlords to subsidize costs for rent controlled tenants is that housing is a human right. Renters are the landlords’ customers, and the customer is always right. Renters are not asking for anything unreasonable, just assistance during this tough time. Meanwhile property owners can leverage their rising property values…an advantage renters don’t have. Government’s role is to enable its community to thrive so it must enforce controls to ensure that private property owners help renters.

Do government subsidies of homeless services do more to get people off the streets or attract more individuals to the city? Depending on your answer, why should that money continue to flow to service providers or be reassigned to other needs?

Government subsidies can do a great deal of help getting people off the streets, and in a working system they do. I believe people in poverty lose hope in their communities and governments because instead of truly being helped, they get ignored. But if we truly help, people will regain their confidence and turn to help themselves. The money should continue to go to service providers who show proven results because people are devastated, need the community’s help and the services are the outlet—once they recover, they will contribute to society to help people, who any day could be me or you.

Why has Santa Monica become a hub of transit innovation including scooters, self driving cars, delivery drones and zero-emission vehicles and is this industry one that should be encouraged to grow here?

Transportation innovation is born in Santa Monica because of a happy coincidence of traffic congestion, bright minds and well-designed city infrastructure. In the spirit of helping solve the world’s problems, entrepreneurs knew dense cities like Santa Monica and Los Angeles need to have more ways to transport ourselves and the things we need. Startup companies were able to leverage technology improvements in phones, location tracking, battery sizes as well as having a network of other companies nearby and production ensued. Since there is a grid system of straight streets that are wide and flat, Santa Monica is an ideal place to test products. Since people provide the best marketing, taking photos of yourself using the product in a beautiful city with beautiful friends only helps grow the business.

What specific technological, policy or regulatory ideas do you have to address resident concerns about a declining quality of life in Santa Monica? 

Addressing the quality of life is my top priority. I would decrease crime through hiring police and advocating to repeal Props 47 and 57. We need more social workers in the field to identify and treat mental illness. Santa Monica was ranked the number two most stressed-out suburb in America and the top reason was high rent costs. I believe we need to manufacture affordability by creating housing and offering subsidies to renters, so they don’t become homeless. DIGS, Demerits In addition to Gold Stars, my policy idea to address homelessness is an innovative way to invest in people who invest in themselves. We should enact more Blue Zone policies that nudge people into living healthier, happier lives.

What role does tourism play in Santa Monica’s culture, economy and government?

I cannot emphasize the role of tourism enough. Tourism is very important because people are coming to our city with money to spend and then leaving to tell their friends about it. Therefore, we must use tourist money to invest in residents as well as maintain an attractive place where tourists will want to continue coming. Our amenities such as parking and sales tax are the same for tourists and residents but only our residents are here to stay. Let’s give some of that money back to the residents in the form of rent vouchers and decreased parking placard costs. Our number one priority should be our safety so let’s take our number one export, tourism, and invest in safety as well.

Does Santa Monica’s approach to law enforcement need to change and if so, what would you do to alter the department to meet the needs of the city?

Santa Monica’s approach to law enforcement is just fine. We have a self-sustained law force, and we should take pride in that. You hear rumblings of getting help from the region but it’s not the police who need help from the region. Rather, it’s human services. There should be LA resources helping serve homeless populations between Lincoln and Centinela and there should be more beds around West LA that can rehabilitate homeless people in Santa Monica.

How do street vendors impact the experience of using Santa Monica’s public spaces?

Street vendors are an iconic part of Santa Monica culture. When I first started my journey in LA, I saw a depot of cart vendors renting carts full of food to go sell in other parts of LA. Some of them were undoubtedly headed to Santa Monica. This is hard work and people make a sacrifice to put food on their families’ tables. This should be rewarded with the space to enable this very important part of our culture to continue.

Do you think residents fundamentally trust local government and what can be done to address the feelings many residents have regarding local politics?

I don’t feel that residents trust local government because residents have lost trust in government across the board. But on the local level, this can be changed much easier by just one person because each person is a bigger percent of the population. That is what will build trust in local politics, electing people who have earned the people’s trust by demonstrating their willingness to serve, delivering on their promises and doing it in a way that builds people up, which is exactly what I intend to do!